Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

Sea-level rise accelerating around the world

Sea-level rise accelerating around the world

The changes are evident and many, including International Panel on Climate Change, have predicted that global levels will rise to 20 inches or more by the end this century.

The global sea level is not rising at a steady rate, it is accelerating a little every year, according to a new assessment based on 25 years of satellite data.

"It's a big deal" because the projected sea level rise is a conservative estimate and it is likely to be higher, said lead author Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado.

"And this is nearly certainly a conservative estimate", added Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Changes in the sea level rise can result to more flooding and erosion. That's because the basis of this estimate does not factor in any huge, model-altering events in the near future-like the collapse of important ice sheets or the acceleration of ice melt at the poles-since that would introduce a large amount of uncertainty into the predictions.

Nerem also claimed this acceleration is primarily being propelled by melting occurring in Greenland and Antarctica.

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By what is presumably a complete coincidence, the funding for the NASA satellites that provide this data is now in danger of being axed as part of the government's current crack-down on various scientific projects.

At present, folks might dismiss rising sea levels because they don't notice any changes.

Sea level rise of 65 centimeters, or roughly 2 feet, would cause significant problems for coastal cities around the world. The team, driven to understand and better predict Earth's response to a warming world, published their work today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers calculated that overall the rate of sea level rise is accelerating by about 0.08 mm per year. A second part of the study used satellite data tracking tiny fluctuations in gravity due toice mass loss to trace the acceleration back to melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are the main cause of sea level rise and this acceleration, according to the study. First, warmer water expands, which accounts for about half of the sea level rise we've seen so far.

Co-author of the study, John Fasullo, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research said that their study highlights the important role that can be played by satellite records in validating climate model projections. He also added that our anticipation conjectures that sea level continues to alter in the future as it has over the last 25 years. Authorities from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council are constantly observing how sea level rise could impact the region and are planning worst-case scenario projections.

That might help others fight global warming, he said, adding, "The time has long passed that we need to address this".

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